An easy Caprese Pasta Salad recipe that makes a quick bbq side dish or an appetizer for any party. Caprese Pasta Salad is made with pasta, fresh grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. It's tossed with a simple balsamic and olive oil dressing and sprinkled with salt and black pepper. It's light and refreshing and loved by both kids and adults!
Caprese pasta salad is a simple, refreshing summer side or picnic dish. While it can be enjoyed all year, the best time to make fresh caprese salad is when tomatoes are in season during the spring and summer months.
When tomatoes are at their freshest and their garden-sweet aroma fills the air at the farmer's market.
As minimal in ingredients and preparation time as caprese pasta salad is, it's absolutely delicious. It looks bold and bright and tastes crisp and robust.
A traditional caprese pasta salad pairs fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil and drizzles them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sometimes arugula is added to a caprese salad for extra zing.
Classic caprese salad recipes are fresh, delicious, and incredibly simple to prepare. I add balsamic vinegar to this recipe for a bold finishing touch.
Traditional caprese ingredients aren't reserved just for a salad, thought, You can make a chicken caprese for dinner, a grilled caprese sandwich for lunch, and even a caprese Christmas wreath for the holiday season.
Caprese pasta salad pairs well with a simple grilled chicken or fish. Serve it along with hamburgers, turkey burgers, or lamb burgers.
This recipe is best served within a few hours of making. Because it uses balsamic vinegar in addition to the olive oil, the vinegar penetrates the pasta and cheese the longer it sits. To some, this may make the cheese and pasta too "mushy" to enjoy later on.
If you'd like to make it ahead of time, mix the tomatoes, cheese, and pasta together. Leave the basil, oil and vinegar separate and add when ready to serve.
I hope that you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as mine does. Please let me know what you thought in the comments, and follow me on Pinterest for the latest recipes.
This caprese pasta salad recipe uses fresh grape tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella pearls, and bow tie pasta.
You can use any other pasta that you have on hand if you don't have bow ties. Short pastas are perfect for pasta salad recipes. While I love these Bel Gioioso fresh mozzarella pearls, you can also slice fresh mozzarella into little cubes.
These classic caprese ingredients are tossed with salt, black pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
While balsamic vinegar is not a traditional caprese ingredient, I use it here to give this recipe a little something more.
You can, however, make your caprese pasta salad without the balsamic vinegar if you'd prefer a more classic version.
There are 2 ways to make it— with fresh chopped tomatoes or lightly sauteed chopped tomatoes. The latter gives the salad just a bit more zest. But both are full of flavor.
- Cook the pasta al dente.
- While the pasta cooks, slice the tomatoes in half and saute for 5 minutes. Skip for the quicker version. Sauteing the tomatoes releases their juices. These juices can be added to the pasta salad for a deeper flavor.
- When the pasta and tomatoes are cooked, place them in a large serving dish with the mozzarella pearls.
- Add the torn basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and serve.
Serve your delicious caprese pasta salad as an appetizer, a side dish, or a vegetarian lunch or dinner.
Caprese Pasta Salad
- 12 oz short pasta
- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup mozzarella pearls or cubes
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup torn basil leaves
- Boil the pasta in salted water.
- Slice the tomatoes in halve and saute for 5 minutes, until soft (skip this step if you prefer uncooked tomatoes)
- When pasta and tomatoes are cooked, combine them with the mozzarella. Toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and torn basil.
- Serve immediately at room temperature.
This recipe serves 6-8 as an appetizer or side dish. As a full lunch or dinner, it will serve 4 people.
Make it ahead of time and store in the fridge overnight, with the oil, balsamic, and basil kept separate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
If storing in the fridge after the dressing is mixed in, try to enjoy within the next day or so.
I hope you enjoy it, and please let me know how it turned out in the comments below.